Business Profiles

Furniture Store Creates Loyal Customer Base with Honest Customer Service

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In 1989, Don Akerman, Jr. opened OfficeMakers Inc. in Katy, off of Beltway 8. His children, son Thomas and daughter Amanda, grew up watching their father not only sell the best furniture at the best price, but also lend a helping hand to customers whenever they needed it.

This attention to customer service and quality products has allowed OfficeMakers to be a sought-after company in the furniture world. Fortune 500 companies and government entities are just some of the high-profile customers the business has served over the last 28 years.

But despite its impressive client list, the company prides itself on being a locally and family-owned company. In fact, it’s their customer service that has allowed them to land clients from other parts of the country.

“I had a woman from a company in Washington, DC call me and say she was having trouble getting anyone to come to her office and do the layout [of her cubicles] for her. Everyone wanted her to come to them,” Thomas Akerman said. “I said, I happen to have this software that will allow me to go in and design it for you right now.”

Akerman said the woman could have taken the design to a local distributor, but because he helped her and gave her a reasonable price, she ended up ordering all of her office furniture from him.

“[Businesses] are becoming more and more transparent and commoditized. It’s not just about what we offer anymore, it’s about what sets us apart. It really just comes down to customer service and product knowledge,” he said.

The Akermans treat their customers the way they would want to be treated, and that means telling them about price breaks even when they aren’t obligated to do so.

“We support The Cooperative Purchasing Network {TCPN}, an organization that offers deep discounts to government agencies, non-profits, churches, and educational facilities,” he said. “I’m always amazed to find that churches are completely unaware that they qualify for these contracts. It gives them huge discounts on great quality.”

The OfficeMakers’ owner said that churches often come to the store looking to peruse the company’s used furniture inventory, and end up coming away with a TCPN catalog, thanks to Akerman and his staff.

“An Arch Diocese in Ohio contacted us because they were looking at a price on a chair. It came up in our conversation that they were a diocese, so I mentioned that they could qualify for the program and they signed up,” he said. “Now, they order chairs from me on a regular basis just because I was the first one who pointed out that they could buy those same chairs on a contract.”

Akerman said a lot of the bigger chain stores won’t always tell their customers about price breaks like the TCPN program because it effects their bottom line. But the business owner said he’s found that being upfront about these programs creates loyal customers, not a dwindling profit margin.

OfficeMakers’ personal customer service has made them a well-known business in the area, and they’re happy to serve the Katy area.

“We’re very glad to have moved here because it’s become our home,” Akerman said. “We’re excited to see all of the development coming up around us, and we’re hoping to be a part of the community for a very long time.”

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